Pope Francis Speaks on John 6: 24-35, Urges Catholics to Turn Away From Material Desires to 'Jesus the Bread of Life'

Pope Francis
Pope Francis waves as he leads the Angelus prayer from the window of the Apostolic palace in Saint Peter's Square at the Vatican, August 2, 2015. |

Addressing the crowds that gathered for Sunday mass at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, Pope Francis preached from John 6:24-35, and said they should turn their focus away from material needs to Jesus "the bread of life."

"After the multiplication of the loaves, the people had begun to look for Jesus and they found him in Capernaum," Francis said, according to Catholic Culture. "These people followed him because of the material bread that had satisfied their hunger the day before, when Jesus had multiplied the loaves. ... They had given more value to the bread than to its provider."

It was due to this spiritual blindness that "Jesus points to the need to go beyond the gift and discover the giver," Francis explained to the thousands of pilgrims who braved the Roman summer heat. "With these words, he wants us to understand that beyond physical hunger, man has a different kind of hunger — all of us have this hunger — a hunger that is more important and that cannot be satisfied with normal food."

"Jesus does not eliminate the preoccupation with and search for daily food," the pontiff said. "No. He doesn't eliminate the concern for all of this that can make life more advanced. But Jesus reminds us that in the end, the true meaning of our earthly existence is in eternity, is in the encounter with Him, who is gift and giver. And He reminds us as well that human history, with its suffering and joys, needs to be viewed in a context of eternity, that is, in the context of that definitive encounter with Him."

The pope added: "It is the hunger for life — the hunger for eternity — that only He can satisfy because He is the bread of life."

Francis has said since the start of his leadership that he wants a "poor church for the poor."

The pope has shown himself to be different from his predecessors in many ways.

For example, while the Roman Catholic pope traditionally serves until death, Francis told a Mexican TV station, Televista, earlier that he feels "my pontificate will be brief: four or five years; I do not know, even two or three."

Francis noted during the interview that two years have already passed since his election in March 2013 after Pope Benedict XVI stepped down.

"It is a somewhat vague sensation," he explained. "Maybe it's like the psychology of the gambler who convinces himself he will lose so he won't be disappointed and if he wins, is happy. I do not know. But I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time, and nothing more. … But it is a feeling. I always leave the possibility open."

The 78-year-old pontiff also said, "I do not mind" being a pope.

Francis suggested he would like to be in public without attracting a huge crowd. "The only thing I would like is to go out one day, without being recognized, and go to a pizzeria for a pizza," he said.

Pope Francis is scheduled to visit the United States later this year.

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